LAS VEGAS- A team of inspectors checks gas stations in southern Nevada on a regular basis for fuel quality and meter compliance; what they discovered in the last year may surprise you.
Kipp Blauer, a supervisor with the group, said that ten inspectors work through the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards to test every station once a year.
“If they’re driving to a station and they feel like haven’t been there they’ll just pop in and say, ‘Hi, I’m here,” Blauer explained.
An inspector should visit each station once a year. They will also leave if a customer lodges a complaint.
The 8 News Now Investigators examined consumer complaints filed with the government between July 2021 and June 2022, when gas prices peaked at $5.61 per gallon of normal.
The accuracy of a gas pump’s meter – the mechanism that detects how much gas is going into your tank and how much to charge the customer – was the subject of 35 of the more than 108 complaints.
Meter difficulties are frequently in the customer’s favor, according to Blauer.
“Meters that are either giving fuel away or holding fuel — mostly it’s giving fuel away when it wears out,” he explained. “It goes to the benefit of the consumer.”
Inspectors discovered only one pump with a fault out of the 35 meter-related complaints, indicating that it was out of compliance.
The investigators collected gas samples from 12 different locations throughout the valley. Reporter David Charns and photojournalist Matt Adams sampled mid-grade gasoline from each station and transferred the samples to smaller containers.
The laboratory found no problems with water, sediment, or other defects at any of the 12 gas stations.
Blauer was unsurprised by the outcomes.
“I haven’t seen a water and gas scam in the years that I’ve been with the Department of Agriculture,” he claimed.
14 of the almost 2,500 gas samples, which included various types of fuel, were out of compliance. When state inspectors from the Department of Agriculture look for water, they conduct a visual inspection in accordance with industry standards. If the visual assessment fails, each sample will be tested by a chemist.
The team will also look at the pump prices, specifically the signage on the pumps and the marquee outside. There is no time limit in the legislation for when the sign must change; it just cannot be deceptive, according to Blauer.
“If they know that price of fuel has changed at the pump and they just leave the sign out there and don’t change it for a day or so — they’re misleading the general public,” he said.
Nine prices were discovered to be “inconsistent” out of 20 pricing complaints.
Blauer claims that in his ten years on the job, he has never seen a gas station mislead its consumers. Simply put, he stated that the sanctions are excessive.
Furthermore, paying for premium gas but receiving a lower octane is uncommon because the two pipelines supplying the Las Vegas valley can only send out one type of fuel at a time.
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